History Friends

History Group

If you are interested in history and our Gardens you may like to join the History Group! You will be part of a fascinating journey in discovering more about our Gardens over the last 160 years and contributing to preserving this history!

Being Involved

Much of our work is done during the week in small groups or individually either in person or online. One group currently meets at 2pm on Thursdays. If you are interested in becoming a History Group Member or would like to know more about what we do, please email or phone the friends or pop in to the George Longley Building on Tue between 1-4pm and our History Convener will be in contact with you.

What we do

The History Group is involved in a wide variety of interests, which concentrate not only on our Gardens in the past but on developments in the contemporary situation.  These include:

  • Research into Public Records newspapers and other primary source materials.
  • Digitisation of archival materials, including to Victorian Collections.
  • Administration of the Library in the George Longley Building.
  • Oral history.
  • Public presentations.
  • Media displays.
  • Working with other groups.
  • Publications. 


The History Group undertakes research into the history of the Gardens. A major project which has involved members for many years is the extraction of references to the gardens primarily from Ballarat City Council correspondence files which are housed at the Ballarat Archives Centre of the Public Record Office Victoria, but also from newspapers and resources held by the Ballarat Historical Society at the Gold Museum. This primary research material has been collated to form the basis of a major work on the history of the Ballarat Botanical Gardens, published in 2012, "An Eden of Loveliness".


Several major collections of documents, photos and books have generously been donated to the Friends. These include material from the late Roy Mosman, first historian of the Friends, and the late Jessie Scott, first female mayor of Ballarat who did much to enhance Ballarat's reputation as the 'Garden City'.  In 2008 about 500 horticultural books were bequeathed to the Friends by the late Mr Jeffrey Bunn. These have been shelved in the George Longley Building where acquisitions are being catalogued and computerised by a team dedicated to the task.


The electronic preparation of historical panels for displays in the Conservatory, a series of interviews (on video) with old identities associated with the Gardens, powerpoint presentations of historic photos of the Gardens and the production of an educational DVD on the Gardens and Lake Wendouree are among the notable achievements for this group.


Ballarat's Blooming Begonias - Just $2

Ballarat's Blooming Begonias

A 40 page booklet celebrating one of Ballarat's enduring icons - Begonia

Pick one up at the George Longley Building 1-4pm on Tuesdays or order by email by contacting info@fbbg.org.au




World War 1

The Ballarat Botanical Gardens and World War 1

The Friends of the Ballarat Botanical Gardens History Group wish to acknowledge:

  • The City of Ballarat Records and Heritage Department
  • The Ballarat Military Museum
  • The Ballarat Library Australiana Room
  • The PROV Ballarat Reading Room
  • The Ballarat Mechanics Institute
  • Graphic Design Andrew Thomas
  • The Committee of the Friends of the Ballarat Gardens
  • The Botanical Art Group FBBG
  • The Staff at the Ballarat Botanical Gardens



"An Evening of Loveliness"

The following is the synopsis on the book, "An Eden of Loveliness".


"Ballarat Botanical Gardens by Lake Wendouree
Compiled by The Friends of the Ballarat Botanical Gardens History Group

When the Friends of the Ballarat Botanical Gardens first formed in 1982, one of the projects envisaged for the group was the production of a book. This project lay in the to do pile until, at the suggestion of Past President, Joan Garner, the History Group - Friends of the Ballarat Botanical Gardens - banded together to produce this book in celebration of the thirtieth anniversary of the Friends of the Ballarat Botanical Gardens.

An Eden of Loveliness is a Pictorial History of The Ballarat Botanical Gardens. The book documents the relationship between the Botanical Gardens and the community, an involvement evident from inception to the present day.

A selection of archival photographs and family snapshots sit side by side, chronicling the cultural, education, horticultural and scientific aspects of these Gardens. It uses images from the Ballarat City Council Collection as well as sourcing materials from the Ballarat Library, the Ballarat Art Gallery, The Ballarat Gold Museum, Public Record Office Victoria, Ballarat Archives Centre, The Friends of the Ballarat Botanical Gardens' own collection and the community.

It is not intended to be a comprehensive history."

To purchase 'An Eden of Loveliness' please contact FBBG by telephone (03) 5364 2764 or by email info@fbbg.org.au


150th Anniversary of the Ballarat Botanical Gardens

In 2007 the 150th Anniversary of the Ballarat Botanical Gardens was celebrated with special events and displays.

Growing History display panels in the Conservatory 28 Sep 2007 and the winning design for Botanical Gardens Ballaarat 1858


Heritage Trees

'Garden to Table' Opportunities lost at the Ballarat Botanical Gardens

Ballarat Old Cemetery Curators & Benefactors

Ballarat Botanical Gardens 150th Anniversary

Statues & Coffee Walk

The Gatekeeper's Cottage